Freelance writer and blogger from Brisbane. Follow my social media, photography, technology and food blogs at www.acarrick.com
Published August 2nd 2019
In praise of hops: great food and drink at Hop Temple
One of Ballarat's trendy social eating venues is Hop Temple - a casual restaurant and bar located off Armstrong Street North. Given the name, Hop Temple serves a wide variety of beers, wine and spirits to refresh and relax you after a long day. To fill your stomach their kitchen serves delicious and fun food – crispy pizzas, hearty burgers, crunchy chicken, and delightful "Sidewinder Fries".
I went there one Friday night for a work function, and we treated ourselves to three pizzas, two bowls of Sidewinder Fries, and a meat platter called "Belly of the Beast" all to share between the five of us. As for the pizzas, we chose a chicken pizza, salami pizza, and as an attempt at something healthy, a pumpkin and spinach pizza. I think most of us liked the chicken pizza best with the pumpkin pizza a close second, though all of them were good quality – not greasy or overly rich either. I found the bases crispy and light while still being thick enough to hold the toppings!
My colleague said we "have to" try the Sidewinder Fries – thick-cut spiralised potato fries served with aioli and gravy. The anticipation of these fabulous sounding fries was almost as thick as the chips themselves turned out to be – indeed they were very nice. Crispy and firm. About the right amount of salt.
Finally, the Belly of the Beast was a platter of three types of meat served with coleslaw and potato salad. The chicken pieces were fried in a crispy crumb similar to a panko, there was some pulled pork in a barbecue gravy, and some large juicy beef ribs. The fried chicken was my favourite of the meats – the crumb gave it a unique zest. The coleslaw and potato salad were all fine.
Belly of the Beast 3 meat selection with potato salad and coleslaw
I didn't have much to do with the staff except while ordering my drink from the bar, but they seemed nice enough and attentive to each other and the rest of our group when we used our tab. Our booth had seats made from old bus seats which was a nice touch on the hipster theme, and the venue overall wasn't uncomfortably loud. I think the food and drink prices were reasonable for the location and trendy bar scene - $8 to $12 for beers, the pizzas and burgers were around $15. Hop Temple is located near the corner of Sturt Street and Armstrong Street North down a short lane.